e-Naira: Unveiling new features

As Nigerians await the launch of e-Naira, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it has emerged that the new digital money will have some features that will make the usage very easy. 

The country’ pilot digital currency, e-Naira, according to the CBN, would be subjected to comprehensive security checks to guarantee safety while Nigerians without internet-enabled phones will also be able to use it. 

The CBN in a paper titled, “Design paper for the e-Naira” has said. Ultimately, e-Naira’s usability would definitely improve as Nigerians would be able to transact without having to subscribe to data or having an internet enabled phone. 

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According to CBN, “The e-Naira thus risks further alienating sections of the population who are uneducated, lack exposure and access to internet services or digital devices.” 

“To mitigate this risk, the bank factored in the need for inclusiveness as part of the core design principle of the e-Naira. This principle has enabled the bank to focus on simplicity and ease of use, ensuring that Nigerians without Internet-enabled phones can access the service,” the CBN said. 

The e-Naira, according to the apex bank, will complement existing payment methods such as mobile banking apps, point-of-sale terminals, USSD, fast response code, and Internet banking. 

The CBN further said: “The account-based CBDC model at its core mirrors the progress made on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which enables access to financial services by leveraging last-mile networks to identify users and to provide banking services through channels such as PoS and USSD. 

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“With the account-based model, the CBN seeks to enable access by leveraging the existing identity infrastructure in Nigeria such as the BVN, NIN, TIN, etc., to uniquely identify individuals and corporate entities. 

“Specifically, identity frameworks such as the NIN will enable access for the financially excluded as they can be uniquely identified, thereby enabling the provision of financial services. These identity systems will help ensure a robust KYC framework positioned to enable access for all Nigerians.” 

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Interoperability between the e-Naira and other CBDCs was included in the e-Naira’s architecture, according to the CBN. The document stated that this would help boost cross-border payments and address concerns about the economy’s dollarisation. 

This digital currency, which is expected to promote the cashless policy, is expected to become operational after the central bank stopped the trading of unregulated digital currencies in the country like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. 

Given the reason, the CBN noted that, “The e-Naira thus risks further alienating sections of the population who are uneducated, lack exposure and access to internet services or digital devices.” 


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